Written by Scott Benbow
Scott Benbow is a 2018 Biofreeze San Francisco Marathon Ambassador
This past autumn, the devastating fires in Paradise, California claimed the lives of many while uprooting families and destroying property. Having lost loved ones, property, and pets, it will be years before some of the survivors return to any semblance of normal lives again.
Here in San Francisco, we were spared the immediate dangers of the wildfires but our thoughts were with the victims to the northeast. However, we were reminded daily of the emergency in Paradise because the air quality in the city diminished to dangerous levels as a result. As the air worsened, an ever-growing number of people in the city donned ventilation masks in an attempt to protect their lungs. Having lived in this city of oddballs and eccentrics for 18 years, I had never seen pedestrians across the city look so bizarre.
The wildfires posed dilemmas for many in the running community. “Should I run with a mask?” My answer was, “Hell no!” Race Directors had the even more difficult decision to make and I was pleased that the organizers of road and trail races in the region–including the organizers of the Berkeley Half Marathon, the North Face Endurance Challenge, the T9 Mermaid Series Run in San Francisco, and the Monterey Bay Half Marathon–all decided to cancel their races. They were under intense pressure from runners not to cancel because of those who invested time, training, attention, and money to running these races.
On my social media feeds, I was pleased to see that most of my friends were intentionally choosing not to run in the dangerous air. They are a dedicated bunch, so I wondered how they would fill the […]